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Archive | April, 2011

Buttermilk Pancakes with Brown Sugar

30 Apr

This morning, I made buttermilk pancakes with brown sugar.  They were so fluffy with just the right amount of sweetness.  I have never blended batter in a blender before until today and it actually makes a huge difference!  I was so excited that I woke up M and shoved a pancake in his face.  He took a small bite, mumbled something unintelligible, then proceeded to fall back to sleep.  I guess he doesn’t get as excited about these things as me.  Anyway,  these little fluffy pancakes of joy are so easy to make and they are guaranteed to impress your most picky eaters.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons butter
Directions:
Preheat a skillet over medium heat. Combine all ingredients in a blender. Puree until smooth. Pour batter onto the griddle, to form 5 pancakes. Flip pancakes when edges appear to harden. Cook pancakes on other side for same amount of time until golden brown.
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Shortbread Sandwiches

29 Apr

My cupboards are a mess. I have very little storage space in my kitchen so all my spices are on one shelf. God forbid I need to garnish something in a hurry because I will be looking for that paprika for the next two years.  So yesterday, when I was taking a break from homework and writing, I started organizing my spice shelf.  I found a lot of things that I didn’t know existed; 2 cloves of garlic, three cinnamon sticks and my most exciting find, vanilla beans! I love how the tiny black seeds make any dessert look more fancy. I took a break from organizing and made Shortbread Sandwiches, half with dulce de leche and half with strawberry jam.   The vanilla bean adds a nice vanilla flavor.  Oh, and when you’re done scraping out the seeds, stick the pod into some raw sugar to make vanilla sugar.  Alright, I am going to go back to organizing, maybe I’ll find some other exotic spice that I didn’t know I had.

Adapted from here

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup  sugar
  • seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups  unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dulce de leche
  • 1/2 cup strawberry jam

Directions: In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until smooth. Add in vanilla bean scrapings. Incorporate in salt and flour, and mix until just incorporated. Place dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Preheat oven 375 degrees. Roll out dough and cut into circles, refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes, and then bake for 8-10 minutes, or until slightly firm. Wait till the cookies are cool, add jam to one half and then place the other cookie on top.  Repeat with another cookie and add dulce de leche. Keep sandwiching until all the cookies are done. Enjoy!

Zucchini Whoopie Pies with Rum Cream Cheese Frosting

28 Apr

If I had to choose one quick bread to eat for the rest of my life, I would choose zucchini bread.   I love the spices that are thrown into it and I love how the zucchini gives the bread an extra oomph of flavor.  Then, when you top it off with cream cheese frosting, it really makes the whole thing come together. For the longest time now, I have wanted to make whoopie pies since I have never tried one before.  So I decided to make zucchini whoopie pies with cream cheese frosting with a dash of rum.  These little cakes will not last long in your house. Enjoy!

Adapted from here

FOR CAKES

  • 2 cups coarsely grated zucchini (10 ounces)
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg

FOR FILLING

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon rum
  • Scant 1/4 teaspoon salt

MAKE CAKES:

Preheat oven to 350°F with racks in upper and lower thirds. Butter 2 large baking sheets.

Squeeze handfuls of zucchini wrapped in a kitchen towel to remove moisture.Whisk together flour, baking soda, spices, and salt until combined. Whisk together buttermilk and vanilla in a small bowl.Beat together butter and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add egg and beat until combined well. At low speed, mix in flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture and mixing until smooth. Mix in zucchini just until incorporated. Spoon 1/4-cup mounds of batter 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Bake, switching position of sheets halfway through, until tops are puffed and golden and spring back when touched, 18 to 22 minutes. Transfer with a spatula to a rack to cool completely.

MAKE FILLING:

  • Beat together cream cheese, butter, confectioners sugar, vanilla,rum and salt with cleaned beaters at medium-high speed until smooth, about 3 minutes.

ASSEMBLE PIES:

  • Spread a rounded 2 Tbsp filling on flat sides of half of cakes and top with remaining cakes.

Meza Latin Fare

27 Apr

The first day I moved into my apartment, M and I took a walk around the neighborhood to scope out some restaurants.   We had only walked one block before we encountered Meza. It is a tiny place with an open kitchen that is also the bar.  The owners and chef treat you like family because, to them, food is about sharing.  The food is Venezuelan style with sandwiches that are simply to die for. The first night we went there, we walked out drunk on the food fest.  It wasn’t until we had  visited several times that I tried the flan.  It is a family recipe handed down fron the chef’s grandmother. It has a secret ingredient that makes it rich and creamy.  Meza is known for their flan because it makes you want to eat a whole batch and then some.   As an added bonus, they are open till 2 in the morning on Friday’s and Saturday’s so if you’re craving some orgasmic flan, after a pub crawl, go to Meza. It will make your night.

(206) 922-2399

1515 14th Ave

(between Madison St & Pike St)

Seattle, WA 98122

Blood, Bones and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef

25 Apr

This ‘behind the scenes’ novel follows the author; Gabrielle Hamilton through the many kitchens she has inhabited . At times, her writing style can be on the wordy side,  so much so that I skimmed over a few paragraphs. However, Gabrielle does not hold anything back about her life, which takes you on an emotional roller coaster ride. She is the female form of Anthony Bourdain.  If you want to read a novel that takes you on the wild journey of a chef, then this is your go to read.

Brown Butter Oatmeal Cookies with Raisins

23 Apr

There have been times where I have opened my fridge to make cookies and have only found salted butter.  I always rush out to buy unsalted butter because ,quite honestly, I feel my fridge is naked without it.  This time though, when I had a late night craving for oatmeal cookies, it was simply to late to run to the store.  I panicked until somewhere deep inside me, I knew that it would not be the end of the world if I did use salted butter. I would just eliminate the ½ teaspoon of it from the recipe.  Then I decided to mix it up even more and brown the butter to get a richer nuttier taste. When these babies were in the oven, I was slightly worried they wouldn’t taste good.  As soon as I pulled them out, I took a tiny hot bite. They were a smashing success. I did a little happy dance right in the middle of my kitchen. Oh, and by the way, it was a warm 70 degrees in Seattle today. I don’t think it could have been a better day!

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup salted butter
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour + 1 TB
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ½ cup rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cup raisins
Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F degrees. Butter a nonstick cookie sheet.

Take the 1 cup butter and brown it in a medium saucepan, preferably one that’s not non-stick.   Let it cool. Add the ¾ cup white sugar and 1 cup brown sugar. Mix until combined. Take the sugar, butter mixture and spoon it into a mixer bowl.  Beat on medium speed; add the eggs on at a time.  Pour in one teaspoon maple extract. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and the baking soda.  Slowly add it to the sugar and butter.  Fold in the oatmeal. Once everything is combined, take the tablespoon of flour and sprinkle it over the raisins. Fold that in.  Let the cookie dough, stand at room temperature for 30 min.  Scoop onto a cookie sheet and bake at 350 F degrees for 10 min. Enjoy~


Pound Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream and Raspberries

23 Apr

I have never made a pound cake before until today.  I have no idea why it has taken me this long to bake one.  I think its probably because I had a preconceived notion that they were dry and too buttery but the one I made today was light and not too sweet.  I will never buy another pound cake from the supermarket again. I don’t know what I was thinking, spending six dollars on a store bought cake when in 30 min, you can whip up your own.  When the pound cake came out of the oven, I let it cool and then sliced myself a piece.  I topped it off with vanilla ice cream and raspberries.  It was the perfect spring treat. I can’t wait for you guys to try it!

Adapted from here

Ingredients

  •  1 cup unsalted butter, slightly firm, plus 1 Tbs. softened
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1-1/4 cups superfine sugar
  • 1 scoop of vanilla ice cream
  • 1/2 cup raspberries
Directions:
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F. Using a pastry brush, thoroughly coat an 8-1/2 x 4-1/2 x 2-3/4-inch loaf pan with the 1 Tbs. softened butter. Line the bottom with a rectangle of parchment.In a medium bowl, combine the flour and salt and whisk thoroughly.Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs on medium-high speed until thickened and lightened in color, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside. Clean the bowl of the stand mixer and fit it with the paddle attachment. Beat the butter on medium-low speed until smooth and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and mix 1 minute longer. Add the sugar 1 to 2 Tbs. at a time, taking about 4 minutes to add it all and scraping the bowl as needed.

Still on medium-low speed, slowly add half of the beaten eggs, taking about 2 minutes to add them. Scrape the bowl as needed and beat for 30 seconds more. Reduce the speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the remaining eggs (divide the flour into 3 parts and the eggs into 2 parts), mixing just until each addition is incorporated. Scrape the bowl and beat on medium low for 10 seconds more.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top with the back of a large soup spoon, making sure to reach well into the corners. Bang the pan on the counter two times to remove any air pockets.

Bake the cake until the top is golden-brown, the sides begin to pull away from the pan, and a thin wooden skewer inserted slightly off center into the cake (not into the crack) comes out clean, 1 hour and 20 to 25 minutes. During the last 15 minutes of baking, lightly spray a 12-inch strip of aluminum foil with nonstick cooking spray and rest it loosely on top of the cake. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for at least 20 minutes before removing from the pan. Top with vanilla ice cream and raspberries or whatever your heart desires.

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